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Unfastening the Electoral Connection: The Behavior of U.S. Representatives when Reelection Is No Longer a Factor

Rebekah Herrick, Michael K. Moore and John R. Hibbing
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 56, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp. 214-227
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2132354
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Unfastening the Electoral Connection: The Behavior of U.S. Representatives when Reelection Is No Longer a Factor
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Abstract

While elections are essential to a democracy, it is commonly believed that the desire to secure reelection causes legislators to engage in many undesirable activities. In this note, by comparing the behavior of U.S. representatives who have chosen to run for reelection with those representatives who have decided not to do so, we provide evidence of the precise activities induced by electoral concerns. We find that elections cause members to go back to the district more often, to employ more staff assistants, to attend to roll-call voting more fastidiously, and to be more legislatively active. While these activities are no doubt consistent with the wishes of most constituents, the desire for reelection also encourage members to introduce what is apparently frivolous legislation on topics of little familiarity to the member. Those members who are not running for reelection, on the other hand, are more likely to have a successful and tightly focused legislative agenda.

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